Disabled campaigners and their allies have called on the transport secretary to restore “vital” government funding for projects to improve access to rail stations across England, Wales and Scotland. In a letter signed by more than 50 organisations, Transport for All (TfA) – which campaigns for an accessible transport system – calls on Chris Grayling to restore tens of millions of pounds of funding for the Access for All scheme that has been deferred by the government. The letter says that deferring half of all planned Access for All projects means that the “already slow progress on rail access has all but ground to a halt”. The decision by the chair of Network Rail – later rubber-stamped by Grayling – to cut Access for All funding for 2014-19 from £102 million to £55 million, with the rest carried over to 2019-24, was first revealed by Disability News Service last year. The letter has been sent as Grayling is due today (Thursday) to announce future levels of Network Rail funding, which
Campaigners from across the country gathered outside parliament this week to call for an end to unsafe “shared space” street designs, which risk turning public spaces into “no go zones” for many disabled and older people. The protest was organised by the National Federation of the Blind of the UK (NFBUK), and attended by members of Transport for All (TfA), and campaigners from Save Our Green Lanes, Enfield Town Residents Association and East Dunbartonshire Visually Impaired People’s Forum. They were joined by Michael Pringle, whose three-year-old son Clinton was killed after he was hit by a vehicle in a shared space scheme while on holiday in Jersey last year. Protesters later delivered a letter to the prime minister at Number 10, which calls for an end to all shared space street developments. Shared space schemes usually remove kerbs and controlled crossings, encouraging vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists to share the same space, but posing greater risks for partially-sighted and blind
The bus industry is facing fresh legal action over its failure to ensure disabled people have access to the designated wheelchair spaces on buses, six months after a Supreme Court judgment that campaigners hoped would finally settle the issue. The Supreme Court ruled unanimously in January that wheelchair-users have a right to priority access over the wheelchair space on a bus, and that a driver must do more than just ask a non-disabled passenger to move if they are occupying the space and it is needed by someone using a wheelchair. But accessible transport campaigners said this week that, although there had been an initial improvement following the judgment, standards “were starting to slip again”. London’s user-led accessible transport charity, Transport for All (TfA), met last week to mark six months since the Supreme Court judgment. The meeting heard from one wheelchair-user and activist who said she had decided to take action over the repeated failure of a bus company to enforce
The bus industry is facing fresh legal action over its failure to ensure disabled people have access to the designated wheelchair spaces on buses, six months after a Supreme Court judgment that campaigners hoped would finally settle the issue.
The Supreme Court ruled unanimously in January that wheelchair-users have a right to priority access over the wheelchair space on a bus, and that a driver must do more than just ask a non-disabled passenger to move if they are occupying the space and it is needed by someone using a wheelchair.
But accessible transport campaigners said this week that, although there had been an initial improvement following the judgment, standards “were starting to slip again”.
London’s user-led accessible transport charity, Transport for All (TfA), met last week to mark six months since the Supreme Court judgment.
The meeting heard from one wheelchair-user
A new user-led campaign is calling on the government to address the “disgraceful” and “unacceptable” treatment experienced by disabled rail passengers. Transport for All (TfA) has issued a series of seven demands to the government and rail industry as part of its Rail Access Now campaign, and has described the current situation as a source of “national shame”. Next month, on 5 April, TfA is planning a protest about access to services on the much-criticised Southern Rail network. The campaign has been backed by Paralympian Anne Wafula Strike and commuter Dave McQuirk, who both spoke this week of the “shocking” treatment they have received when using the rail system as wheelchair-users. Among TfA’s demands is for the government to reverse the “shameful” decision to defer until at least 2019 nearly half of the planned spending on its Access for All programme, which provides funding to improve access at rail stations. The funding delays were first revealed by Disability News Service last
Staffing cuts across the rail industry – forced on train companies by the government – are damaging the rights of disabled passengers to catch trains without having to book assistance in advance, according to campaigners. The user-led accessible transport charity Transport for All (TfA) said the Department for Transport (DfT) was embedding such cuts in rail franchise agreements with train companies, making it even harder for disabled and older people who need assistance to board and disembark trains to travel “spontaneously”. Two representatives of the rail industry appeared to agree that the government was to blame and had forced the staffing cuts on train-operating companies – affecting station and on-board staff – although one of them later appeared to backtrack on that claim. Faryal Velmi, TfA’s director, told Tuesday’s Pan London Mobility Forum: “‘Turn up and go’ is not rocket science. “We are living in one of the richest cities, in one of the richest countries in the world.” She
A disabled comedian and activist signed up by Network Rail to launch its new access campaign has criticised its chair after discovering that he called on the government to slash funding to make stations more accessible. Francesca Martinez, who has campaigned against government cuts to support for disabled people, was “shocked” when told by Disability News Service (DNS) of the actions taken by Sir Peter Hendy. Martinez had spent much of the day fronting the launch of Network Rail’s Spaces and Places for Everyone campaign, including giving media interviews backing the campaign. But DNS then told her that Sir Peter had recommended in a spending review for the government that nearly £50 million allocated to the Access for All programme should be delayed until 2019 at the earliest. She said: “This is really important to know because if these cuts are carried out then the impact would no doubt outweigh the positives of the Network Rail campaign. “I’m going to write to Network Rail and put this to
Rise in disabled train passenger numbers sparks call for ‘turn up and go’ system – 2 Jul 2016
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